The Better Business Bureau is reminding Tri-Citians to beware the 12 scams of Christmas.
Common holiday scams and frauds include:
-- E-cards with viruses and malware: don’t click on an e-mail from someone you don’t know. When it doubt, delete, BBB says.
-- The classic grandparent scam: check that a grandchild, relative or friend was really overseas before wiring money.
-- Counterfeit gifts: low prices on luxury goods may mean cheap counterfeits.
-- Pickpockets: keep purses and wallets secure when shopping.
-- Stolen gift cards: always buy gift cards from reputable dealers, instead of online or from individuals, since it’s simple for a scammer to sell the card, then pull off the funds.
-- Fake coupons: only download coupons from a retailer’s real website and beware of coupon sites that ask for personal information.
-- Santa scammers: make sure a supposed letter from Santa addressed to a child is from a real site, and isn’t gathering personal data for identity theft.
-- Fake charities: make sure to give to genuine charities, and be careful of fakes with similar sounding names.
-- Bogus websites: red flags include http instead of the more secure https, no contact information and asking for payment by wire or money card.
-- Travel scams: bargains can be tempting, but be careful when booking through online ads, don’t ever wire money to an unfamiliar person and always ask for references.
-- Romance scams: beware an online sweetheart who gets cozy too fast or asks for money.
-- Puppy scams: beware buying pets online. It may be a puppy mill pooch with health problems or no pup at all.
Report scams to the BBB by calling 509-455-4200 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.bbb.org.